Hinckley and Bosworth borough council looks likely to consult on charging residents for garden waste collections from 2015/16 in response to an anticipated £350,000 cut in funding from Leicestershire county council.
Hinckley and Bosworth council operates the free in-house fortnightly collections of garden waste from households in the borough in brown wheeled bins, before sending the material for open-windrow composting at two local sites – Aston Flamville Manor Farm and Grendon House Farm on Warton Lane.
Since 2006, the borough council has received recycling credits from the county under section 52 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, which allows waste disposal authorities to provide incentives to waste collection authorities to offer effective household collection arrangements.
"We are facing an unprecedented financial challenge and having to take a fresh look at recycling credits but ensuring that waste does not go to landfill has become part and parcel of how a responsible council conducts itself."
The recycling credit rate for garden waste payable by Leicestershire to the borough council for 2014/15 is £49.97 per tonne.
However, the county council has advised that it intends to cease recycling credit payments to Hinckley and Bosworth for green waste from March 31 2015, and may in future also reduce recycling credits paid for dry recycling.
Leicestershire council says it is “still in discussions with district and borough councils to find the best way forward” but is currently “facing an unprecedented financial challenge” and has therefore suggested that the seven councils in the county consider introducing paid-for garden waste collections.
Other councils in Leicestershire – Blaby district, Charnwood borough, Leicester city and Melton borough – have already introduced charges for green waste services, and Hinckley and Bosworth council documents state that it is “likely that other districts in Leicestershire will also consider introducing a charge to offset the loss of funding”.
Hinckley and Bosworth
Last year, Hinckley and Bosworth borough council collected nearly 11,000 tonnes of green waste. Based on this tonnage, the net impact on the borough council of a cut in recycling credits would be around £345,000 in 2015/16.
And, should Leicestershire also withdraw dry recycling credits, the borough council would lose an additional estimated £484,109 funding based on last year’s tonnages. The borough council currently operates fortnightly collections of dry recycling in blue-lidded wheeled bins, with a caddy inside the bin for paper and card.
According to borough council documents, Leicestershire council is able to cease recycling credit payments for green waste if they “direct” the borough council to use a green waste treatment site, which would leave the county council “responsible for the waste treatment costs”.
As such, Hinckley and Bosworth council will meet this evening (November 4) to decide on launching a public consultation over whether to introduce a £30 annual charge for a household green waste collection or to cut the green waste service altogether.
The charged-for service would include 23 collections per year, with no collections from early December to mid-January and ‘no discounts available to minimise costs’. The upfront one-off costs associated with implementing the scheme in year one are estimated at £100,000.
However, a reduced take-up of a charged for green waste service “will inevitably reduce the council’s recycling rate, and therefore the council may not meet the target of 50% recycling by 2017 set within the Leicestershire Waste Strategy”, according to council documents.
Hinckley and Bosworth’s current recycling rate is 56%, although the documents note that Melton borough council’s introduction of a charged service “did not result in a significant reduction in the recycling rate as residents continued to recycle through the household waste and recycling sites”.
Leicestershire county council is seeking new local arrangements regarding recycling credits that have been in place since 2006 with each of the seven waste collection authorities in the county. It believes this will result in savings of more than £1.6 million up to 2018.
A spokesman for Leicestershire county council said: “We are still in discussions with district and borough councils to find the best way forward. Previous experience in the county showed that when a charge was introduced the majority of green waste continued to be collected through the district council green waste collections or was taken to waste sites for composting.
“We are facing an unprecedented financial challenge and having to take a fresh look at recycling credits but ensuring that waste does not go to landfill has become part and parcel of how a responsible council conducts itself.”